- Unlike other jurisdictions, Winnipeg lacks detailed plans or financial analysis to properly establish charges.
- New charges from development should be designated for new infrastructure.
- Without new development, existing taxpayers must pay higher taxes to support maintaining our city.
Manitoba Home Builders’ Association (MHBA) and the Urban Development Institute (UDI) commissioned a report to provide further context to the Hemson Report.
“Understanding Development in Winnipeg” is a detailed analysis of the state of the City’s development and the potential impacts of the newly tabled by-law to introduce taxes on new development.
The recent report from Hemson Consulting, commissioned by the City of Winnipeg, has based growth fee charges on hastily assembled data supplied by the City.
“We are very concerned with the flaws in the Hemson report,” said Mike Moore, President of the MHBA. “Very few of the infrastructure projects listed in the report can be attributed to new development. As a result, the report’s proposed fees are simply a tax on new housing and new development and will substantially drive up costs to home buyers.”
The MHBA and UDI want to return to a discussion of how cost of development should be funded through the Development Agreement Parameters process in partnership with the City’s Planning, Property and Development Department. The industry groups offered to contribute to the cost of a more encompassing study to form the basis for new agreement parameters but the City declined, choosing to pursue the study independently through the Finance department.
According to the new report by MNP, commissioned by UDI and MHBA:
- New development expands the number and value of properties, enabling the city to grow its assessment base.
- Without new development, the existing tax base must pay higher taxes as the costs of delivering municipal services rise, along with the backlog of needed investments in infrastructure renewal to meet modern regulatory standards and citizens’ expectations.
- New homes are generally assessed at a much higher value than the ‘average home’ in Winnipeg and thus contribute a larger share of municipal revenue than the average home. New homes built from 2006-2015 are estimated to have contributed about $200 million in new assessment revenue, and continue to add $33.6 million to city coffers per year. New businesses in commercial developments also pay the business tax.
- As the total cost of ownership increases in the city, new homebuyers will look outside of Winnipeg. Surrounding municipalities are growing at over two times the rate of Winnipeg. If new homebuyers choose a home outside the city, new assessment revenue is lost. To further exacerbate this, these individuals and families use Winnipeg infrastructure without providing the taxes that support their maintenance.
- In contrast to ‘urban sprawl’ (low density, homogenous, single use developments disconnected from the existing development), developers have embraced principles espoused in OurWinnipeg, including mixed land use, a range of housing opportunities, walkable neighbourhoods, and attractive communities with a strong sense of place.
- New development provides modern infrastructure that is necessary to support and attract population growth.
“New development is an integral part of renewing and growing our city,” said Eric Vogan, President of the Manitoba chapter of the UDI. “It is critical that the city administration take the time to flesh out development charges that will support long term growth, and not rush to put through a tax that will cripple growth.”
Moore concluded: “Our industry wants to work with the City to ensure costs can be fairly and accurately allocated to development, but we have to work together or it won’t work.”
The full report is available by clicking on Understanding Development in Winnipeg